Blackwing Takes Manhattan at the Blackwing Experience
The Blackwing Experience and the Party for the Pencil hit New York City last week and, by all accounts, both were a hit. Over 1,000 artists, writers, musicians and other creatives graced the Art Directors Club throughout the course of a week that was highlighted by what is thought to be the city’s first known major social event dedicated to the woodcased pencil.
The week-long exhibit celebrated both the history and future of not only the Blackwing pencil, but the entire pencil industry and the creativity it inspires. An entire 60-foot long wall on the east side of the building showcased a chronological history of the pencil, beginning in 1400 BCE and galloping through the launch of the Palomino Blackwing 602.
Interactive stations designed by creative director Justin Oberman to “give people an an opportunity to use the pencil to create as much as possible” allowed patrons to do such things as design their own fonts and collaborate with rock band Mordus to write the lyrics for their next song.
Everyone who entered the exhibit got to try both versions of the Palomino Blackwing and walk away with the pencil they preferred. There was even a sharpening lounge that featured couches, a television and, of course, pencil sharpeners, where people could take a load off, sharpen their Blackwings and mingle with other artists.
The Party for the Pencil took place on Tuesday evening with people lined up along 29th Street onto Broadway waiting to get in. It featured creatives from all disciplines, including Blackwing musicians Christian Tamburr and Dominic Farinacci who took the stage at the Art Directors Club for an hour-long set that included songs written or inspired by famous Blackwing users. The party generated high praise from attendees which included New Yorker editor Mary Norris who wrote a story praising the experience.
On Wednesday evening, the Art Directors Club hosted a panel discussion that included the New Yorker’s Blake Eskin, acclaimed children’s author and illustrator Maira Kalman and California Cedar CEO Charles Berolzheimer. The panel also featured Craig Kausen, CEO of Jones Enterprises and grandson of Oscar winner Chuck Jones.
The panel was moderated by artist and Art Directors Club Young Guns Award recipient, Rich Tu. Attendees were treated to an insightful discussion on the creative process and the tools that help empower it. Mr. Berolzheimer talked at length about the challenges of reviving the Blackwing pencil while Mr. Kausen reflected on his grandfather’s fondness for quality tools when creating Looney Tunes characters such as Bugs Bunny and Wiley Coyote (“I never saw him use any pencil other than a Blackwing”).
To see pictures from the Blackwing Experience exhibit and the Party for the Pencil, visit the Blackwing Facebook page.